Thursday, October 30, 2014

Spokane is a spooky place — here are some favorite creepy stories from the archives

Posted By on Thu, Oct 30, 2014 at 2:45 PM

click to enlarge Spokane is a spooky place — here are some favorite creepy stories from the archives
Stephen Schlange
Signs of Spokane's past lurk below street level, including Louis Davenport's safe in the hotel's basement.

Facebook and Twitter seem to be overflowing with other local media outlets' postings about ghosts and supposedly haunted Inland Northwest locales over the past couple weeks. With the big October holiday less than a day away, we decided it timely to revisit the Inlander's archives of creepy coverage, both lighthearted and serious, to get in the mood for All Hallow's Eve. 

In the past year, freelance videographer Nathan Brand put together several heavily researched mini-documentaries for a short series he dubbed "Unsolved Secrets of Lost Spokane."

Episode 1 takes viewers into the basement of the old Dutch's pawn shop building to see its historic and creepy bear murals that once decorated a speakeasy and card room there.

Episode 2 is short primer on one of the region's earliest serial killers, known as "Bluebeard."

Brand also dug deep to uncover all the grisly details about early Spokane's infamous axe-murdering teen, Sidney Sloane.

Also earlier this fall, Brand took his fascination with unsolved murders and Spokane's darker past even deeper to investigate the unnatural death of prominent public figure, Spokane fire chief Al O'Connor, who unexpectedly dropped dead more than 30 years ago. The cause of his death still remains a mystery.

In time for the Halloween season last year, we also sought to enlighten readers about some of the Lilac City's best urban legends, like the haunted "Thousand Steps" at Greenwood Cemetery, some creepy, unexplained happenings at the Dania Furniture building, and downtown's resident theater spirits. 

Our fascination with the lesser-seen and super-creepy underground sites around the region doesn't end there. Photographer Stephen Schlange was on a mission last fall to document what lies behind some of the city's locked doors that only a few are privy to.

Back in the early aughts, then-Inlander staffer Mike Corrigan penned a fascinating first-person account of his discoveries beneath Spokane's downtown streets in a piece titled "Speakeasy Spelunking." 

Later, Corrigan went back underground to seeking for evidence of Spokane's Cold War-era nuclear bomb shelters.

Another past staffer uncovered the haunted histories of Spokane's most famed ghost-ridden sites — The Davenport Hotel and the Patsy Clark Mansion. 

The historic Masonic Temple, now being renovated and restored as an event center called Riverside Place, also has a colorful and eerie history we've delved into for fascinating features. 

The Inlander has also done a fair share of reporting on ghost towns, including Elberton, Wash., on the Palouse, and the death of another Spokane far from our own.

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Chey Scott

Chey Scott is the Inlander's Arts and Culture Editor and editor of the Inlander's yearly, glossy magazine, the Annual Manual. Chey (pronounced "Shay") is a lifelong resident of the Spokane area and a graduate of Washington State University. She's been on staff at the Inlander since 2012...